[IAEP] A video about a 1-1 Apple laptop middle school in NYC - School Surveillance and a discussion on Multitaskingr

Benjamin M. Schwartz bmschwar at fas.harvard.edu
Fri Sep 4 15:41:22 EDT 2009

Dennis Daniels wrote:
> That's one of the reasons I was initially attracted to Sugar in that
> the peer networking was built in... please tell me that one station
> monitoring of all students is built in as well.

Nope. No monitoring built in.  However, I have recently implemented it as
an Activity called "Watch Me" [1].

> If it isn't then it
> should be for the teacher's sake.

1.  As a technical matter, this is not so easy over a congested wireless
2.  We care much more about students than teachers.  Is it good for the

To understand the perspective present when Sugar was developed, consider
the following paper:


This paper criticizes OLPC's security design, because it would make it too
easy to trace communications back to the student who issued them.
Particularly in societies with oppressive governments prone to censorship,
this creates a chilling effect on freedom of expression.  OLPC's response
was, roughly, that the author had misunderstood the design, and that
cryptographic security for students against authorities was a key
consideration in the design.*

In other words, Sugar's design comes from a culture with a deep distrust
of authority figures.  I got my programming start by hacking my school's
computer systems, and I'm sure the same is true of many other contributors
here.  You will find plenty of opposition to letting teachers watch what
students are doing without permission.

[1] http://activities.sugarlabs.org/en-US/sugar/addon/4205
*: In fact, this particular cryptographic scheme was never actually
implemented anyway, and I believe most collaboration traffic is still sent
over the network unencrypted.

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